The Divine Dialogue of God with the Soul
Weekly Reflection by Mother Marie Julie, SCMC
My Dear Good People,
This past week a dear friend of the Sisters, a Norbertine Priest, came to visit us and he brought with him a power point presentation of a pilgrimage he and a number of his parishioners made to Israel last year at this time. We were all moved by the devotion with which Father spoke to us about the holy places where Jesus once stood, preached, healed, celebrated meals, prayed, taught, and ultimately gave His Life for each of us because He loved us to the end. I’ve never been to the Holy Land, but I couldn’t help recognizing that a pilgrimage like the one Father described could only result in a personal transformation brought about by the graces received during such an experience.
I would say the definition of a pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place where one encounters a sacred revelation. To tell the truth, we’ve all made pilgrimages of one sort or another in our lives, perhaps more than once. I’m not talking about physical travel to a specific location, but rather the spiritual journeys we’ve made to destinations that have become sacred for us. A serious illness becomes a pilgrimage when we journey through it with faith and surrender. A move to a new city, or the beginning of a new job, the painful experience of seeing a youngest child move out on her own, or working at rebuilding a broken relationship with someone we once trusted—each of these can be a pilgrimage when we travel into the heart of things. St. John Paul II used to say, “Go deeper.” If we aren’t careful we can become so caught up in the busy-ness of our life situations that we lose sight of the mystery of a movement of Grace within us at any given time. I call these inner pilgrimages where we discover that God is doing something beautiful within us.
These past eight months have found us all in ‘places’ we’ve never been before: working from home; helping our children with virtual learning (something most of us never thought we could or would ever have to do; living with less money coming in, or fewer ‘things’ we always considered necessary (like certain paper goods or cleaning supplies).
We’ve had to find ways to remain connected, from a distance, to our loved ones in hospitals and nursing care, and learned to worship without being able to go to church; some of us have longed to go to confession and were unable to; we missed graduations, or had to make do without our weekly visits with a dear friend who always kept us grounded in our faith. In all of these ways we suffered uncertainty, or a long loneliness. And some of us are still on a kind of inner pilgrimage as we consider the upcoming election and have to make tough choices about extremely important matters. All of this can just pass over us in waves without our even seeing the Hand of God reaching out to support us, lead us, forgive us and love us.
Today is a good day to take some time to again ask ourselves, Where is God leading me in all this? What does He want me to find within myself? How can this draw me closer to Him? What is He telling me, or asking of me?
The destination is no more important than the steps we take to arrive. And we can be sure that our walking companion is always Jesus, the Great Pilgrim who came from heaven to earth to encounter a sacred revelation– or rather to be a sacred revelation that reaches into the deepest heart of us. May our eyes remain open, our souls ready to embrace the Grace that meets us all along the way until we know ourselves as God knows us.
With prayerful love,
Mother Marie Julie
And the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church